Mind and heart connection: Maintain psychological wellbeing and heart health
Maintain psychological wellbeing and heart health
While thinking about your valentine may set your heart aflutter, negative psychological factors such as stress or depressive disorders can have a long-term impact on overall cardiovascular health.
In fact, a number of research studies suggest that cultivating a healthy mind can improve heart health and lower risk of cardiovascular disease, which is the leading cause of death in the United States.
Dr. Glenn Levine, a cardiologist at Baylor College of Medicine, discusses what you should know about psychological wellbeing and heart health in the Q&A below.
Q: What is the connection between the mind and the heart?
A: Research shows that cardiovascular conditions can lead to negative psychological states such as depression. Negative psychological states can also increase the risk for cardiovascular disease and adverse prognosis. There are good associations between positive psychological health and decreased cardiovascular disease risk.
Q: What impact can psychological conditions have on cardiovascular health?
A: Conditions such as depression or anxiety disorder can lead to poorer medical compliance. They may also have indirect effects on blood pressure, inflammation, and atherosclerosis, a disease of the arteries that can lead to coronary heart disease.
Q: Does stress play a role?
A: There are clear links between stress and greater cardiovascular risk. Intense psychological distress is also associated with acute coronary syndrome.
Q: What are some ways to maintain a healthy mind-heart relationship?
A: There are numerous ways to decrease negative psychological health and increase positive psychological health. Meditation is one. Yoga is also a good mind-body practice. Overall, mindfulness is a promising intervention. There is modest but increasing data that these interventions can lead to a better cardiovascular prognosis.
Dr. Levine is a professor of medicine-cardiology at Baylor. Learn more Cardiovascular Medicine services at Baylor or call (713) 798-1000.
Practicing mindfulness anytime, anywhere
Take charge of your heart health today: Follow these eight tips
-By Nicole Blanton
The Mind-Heart Connection | Blog
The ties between mental and heart health can play an important role before, during and after heart disease diagnosis.
It might not be the most obvious connection, or even the most talked about topic, but it has been found that our mental well-being is closely related to our heart health.
Studies show that patients with heart disease are often sick and living under stressful circumstances. This can foster depressive symptoms. Depression itself is a risk factor for developing heart disease. Researchers are discovering similar links between cardiovascular disease and other mental illnesses like anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
Why is mental health so connected to heart health?
Caring for patients with both mental illness and heart disease is difficult. The treatment for one might worsen the other. For example, a patient exposed to the stresses of a heart procedure might experience more anxiety, depression or other psychiatric symptoms.
According to studies by the American Journal of Medicine, depression can increase the risk of an unhealthy lifestyle, and lead to habits like:
- Diet higher in calories, salt, and saturated fat
- Reduced exercise and medication follow up
Each of these habits increases the risk of cardiovascular disease and worsens the outcome.
Heart issues also have significant emotional consequences. A heart disease diagnosis can be depressing, anxiety-provoking, and traumatic. About 50% of patients hospitalized with coronary artery disease have some depressive symptoms. Up to 20% of these patients develop major depression. A review of 25 studies found that 15% of patients developed post-traumatic stress disorder after a heart attack, sudden cardiac arrest, or cardiac surgery, according to Harvard Health Publishing.
The American Heart Association and the American Psychiatric Association recommend routine screening of patients with heart disease for depressive symptoms. The American Heart Association also recommends that depression be recognized as a major risk factor for coronary heart disease, like diabetes, hypertension, and smoking.
Everyone wins with awareness and prevention
Today, better awareness of the connection between heart and mental health is changing the treatment of these illnesses. Taking a more holistic approach that integrates mental and heart health care can bring better outcomes for everyone. Here are examples of a holistic approach to mental and heart health:
- People with mental illness and their doctors can help prevent cardiac issues by adding heart health monitoring to their care plan, if necessary
- Cardiac patients and their doctors can add mental health management into their treatment, when needed
- Mental and heart health specialists can work more collaboratively to identify the best treatment options; new findings point to treatments that can be beneficial for both the heart and the mind
- Health care providers are promoting preventive measures known to benefit both cardiac and mental health such as exercise and stress management
Here are more tips that can support your heart and mental well-being.
Remember, to protect your heart, bring your mental health into the conversation with your doctors. As humans, our minds and bodies are connected, therefore, both areas need to be considered. During American Heart Month, let’s reflect on this fact and act on it.
mental health screening
An online screening can help you figure out what you are feeling and how to find support.
The Heart and Mind Connection
The Heart and Mind Connection
posted by TrueNorth Employee Benefits on Tuesday, August 16, 2016
Even though the brain and the heart are located far from one another in the body, they are intrinsically connected and have a significant impact on how each other functions.
The two organs communicate via the muscular walls around the heart, which are connected to the brain in the circulatory system. As the brain releases hormones telling the body what to do, receptor cells in your blood vessels pick up these messages. In addition, there are nerve endings that travel from the brain to the muscular walls of the heart. These nerves send messages to the muscle tissue to either relax or contract.
Since these two organs communicate, mental health can have a dramatic effect on heart health and vice versa.
The mind’s response to a perceived or actual threatening situation is known as stress. The body responds to stress by increasing
- Blood pressure
- Respiratory rate
- Heart rate
- Oxygen consumption
- Blood flow and skeletal muscles
- Muscle tone
When you experience these responses on a regular basis as a result of stress, you are putting your body at an increased risk of heart disease.
To combat the potentially life-threatening damage stress could have to your heart, there are several meditation techniques you can try. These techniques aim to achieve a relaxation response to reduce stress, improve the immune system and prepare the body for traumatic situations in the future.
Here are three ways to meditate:
- Immerse yourself in a quiet environment. Sit or lie down in a comfortable position. Then, focus your attention on one thing, such as a word, phrase or sound. Repeat that one thought over and over again. If you find that your mind wanders, attempt to refocus. Do this exercise for 20 minutes to escape the stressors of your life.
- Progressive relaxation is another useful exercise. Lie down or sit in a quiet area. Focus your attention on the muscles groups in your feet and slowly move through each group until you reach your head. As you go through each muscle group, try to imagine you are actually breathing through these organs. As you “exhale,” release the tension from the group for several seconds. As an alternative, you may tighten the muscles in each group for several seconds, and then physically release the tension.
- A third meditation exercise is to imagine that you are are ridding your body of the toxins that you want to get rid of. For instance, visualize that you are ridding your arteries of plaque. Concentrate on releasing that energy, which will ultimately reduce the tension in your mind.
TrueNorth offers businesses of every size comprehensive solutions to meet their business needs and those of their employees. If you are in need of business solutions and are looking for ways to protect and maximize your workforce, look to TrueNorth. Our Employee Benefits Division can assist you in providing for the well-being of both you and your staff. Call us today at 1-800-798-4080.
… read more about author
Breaking Down the Connection Between Our Heart and the Mind – Form
Many people talk about the importance of mental health and wellbeing. But what if we are missing out on the brains’ best friend in this equation?
In the last few decades, efforts have been placed in the treatment and diagnosis of diseases in both areas; cardiology and mental health. The connection between the heart and the brain has, unfortunately, not had sufficient interest from the medical community though.
Through this article, we will understand how the heart’s delicate way of thinking and feeling has been forgotten for many years, as well as exploring the scientific evidence behind mental health and cardiovascular disease and the role of our emotions in diseases of the heart and brain.
More Than A Simple Pump
Modern medicine may have come to overlook the heart as just a simple pump, but in ancient times the view was vastly different.
Take the ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle for example, who in the fourth century BC identified the heart as the most important organ of the body, and the first to form when we are embryos. He saw the heart as the seat of intelligence, emotions, and consciousness, while describing it as the centre of vitality.
The ancient Egyptians were cardiocentrists too. They also believed that the heart was the most important organ in the human body, as well as the only organ associated with the soul and the only one necessary to enter into the next life.
Research by John and Beatrice Lacey in the 1960s and 1970s demonstrated that the heart was not just a simple pump but also an organ of high intelligence, with its own nervous system, decision-making powers, and attachments to the brain.
Then, in 1991, pioneering neuro-cardiology researcher Dr. Andrew Armour made a brilliant discovery. He found that the heart contains 40,000 neurons called sensory neuritis with the capacity of remembering, discerning, and decision-making. This network of neurons is called the intrinsic cardiac nervous system, meaning that the heart has its own nervous system. Intrinsically related is the vagus nerve, which carries information from the heart to the brain, as well as from other internal organs to the brain.
The Heart’s Magnetic Field
Furthermore, the heart also possesses its own pacemaker, an extraordinarily intelligent hub that initiates and controls the cardiac electrical conduction, and has its own electrical conduction, independent from the rest of the body.
Research studies have shown that the heart generates the body’s most powerful and most extensive rhythmic electromagnetic field, which is about 100 times stronger than the brain’s magnetic range. It’s the most potent source of energy in the human body and can be detected from up to three feet away from the body.
The heart has many forms of communicating with its long-time friend, the brain, either biochemically, energetically, or by a complex physiological interaction. There is even evidence that a subtle yet influential electromagnetic or ‘energetic’ communication system operates just below our conscious awareness. Energetic interactions possibly contribute to the ‘magnetic’ attractions or repulsions that occur between individuals, affect our affairs in friendship and love.
In fact, studies done by psychophysiologist Rollin McCraty in 2004, found that one person’s brain waves could synchronize to another person’s heart. Equally, two heart’s will synchronize with each other according to their level of empathy and compassion.
How Your Emotions Play With Your Heart
Research has also shown that different patterns of the heart’s activity (which bring different emotional states) have different effects on cognitive and emotional functions. When we experience stress or negative emotions, the heart enters a level of incoherence, creating erratic and disorganised electromagnetic waves.
These signals are sent to the brain and to other people that we might be interacting with. Our level of coherence significantly affects our decision-making, the quality of our relationships, and the management of our emotions. This helps explain why we may often act impulsively and unwisely when we’re under stress. The heart’s input to the brain during stressful or negative emotions also has a profound effect on the brain’s emotional processes, actually serving to reinforce the emotional experience of stress.
In contrast, the more ordered and stable pattern of the heart’s input to the brain during positive emotional states has the opposite effect; it facilitates cognitive function and reinforces positive feelings and emotional stability. This means that learning to generate increased heart rhythm coherence, by sustaining positive emotions, not only benefits the entire body but also profoundly affects how we perceive, think, feel, perform, act and react in the world.
Can Anger Also Lead To An Unhealthy Heart?
On the flip side to these positive emotions is the idea that more negative thought processes could then have a detrimental effect on your heart. From smoking and obesity, to high cholesterol and a lack of exercise – we’re all fully aware of the risk factors that can lead to coronary artery disease. But can we add anger, hostility, isolation and depression to that list?
Some research studies have suggested that hostility and anger are both precursors of coronary disease, similar to anxiety, stress and inflammation, while those who are angry more frequently are at higher risk for all heart disease events, including heart attack, and bypass surgery. They are also more likely to die suddenly from a heart-related event.
In line with anger-management preventive strategies, some doctors can prescribe Beta-blockers to aid with anxiety and other uncomfortable symptoms such as stress-related palpitations, panic attacks and nervousness. A 2019 study led by Dr Rachel Lampert, Professor of Internal Medicine (Cardiology) at Yale School of Medicine proved that beta-blockers might reduce the triggering effect of anger or stress on atrial fibrillation (AF) by blocking the harmful effects of emotion in those prone to emotion-triggered AF.
And according to Dr Murray A. Mittleman, an associate professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, anger causes an outpouring of stress hormones like adrenaline, which makes your heart beat faster and your blood pressure rise. Talk about a snowball effect.
Mental Health And Heart Disease: Putting Science First
Furthering the link between the mind and heart, research in the Journal of the American Heart Association, found that persistent depression may double the risk of stroke in adults ages 50 and older. What’s more, recent research in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes reports that the combination of stress and depression can significantly increase a heart patient’s risk of death or heart attack.
In fact, depression stands besides blood pressure and elevated cholesterol as an independent major risk factor for coronary artery disease.
Many studies have documented a disproportionately high prevalence of depression in patients with coronary artery disease and heart disease relative to the general population. Another concern we face with depression and heart disease is the likelihood of poor adherence to prescribed regimens from doctors, nurses or mental health specialist.
Depression is a two-way road; it affects behavioural risk factors such as smoking, alcohol, diet and nutrition, medical adherence and physical activity. In turn, it impacts on physiological risk factors such as platelet activity, diabetes, obesity and inflammation.
An Inflamed Body And A Moody Mind
Emerging evidence suggests that alterations in immune functioning and inflammation may contribute to the development and clinical manifestations of coronary heart disease. The body’s inflammatory response to chronic hypercholesterolemia and hypertension may contribute to atherosclerosis as damage to the arterial lining occurs over time. There is also evidence showing that increased inflammation is associated with metabolic syndrome, a cluster of conditions that occur together
In my private practice, as a holistic and wellbeing therapist, but also as an arrhythmia specialist nurse with years of experience in cardiovascular health and mental health, I understand that monitoring a heart patient’s mental health is as essential as treating and monitoring a physical condition.
Exploring Some Techniques.
Controlling Your Breath
Knowing the importance of mental wellbeing in cardiac patients, at my cardiac rehabilitation clinic, RhythmiaBreath, we incorporate tools and techniques with a strong focus on education and counselling.
Breathwork is one of the main pillars of our teaching at RhythmiaBreath, with the action playing an essential role in the heart-brain coherence and connection.
When we breathe slowly and rhythmically, you will encourage a shift away from stressful or fearful states into increased coherence, where the heart rate variability increases and the pulse rate slows down.
The heart is also exquisitely sensitive to emotions. An angry or fearful thought changes the way we breathe, our respiratory rate, and the heart-rate variability (HRV) pattern –the variability between each heartbeat, which sets the pace for the brain and respiratory system.
There are many low-paced breathing exercises proven to improve focus and concentration, as well as releasing tension and regulating the nervous system.
The No Medication Approach To Improving The Heart-Brain Connection.
Interventions such as yoga (in the form of therapy), mindfulness, meditation, autogenic relaxation and visualization, specific breathing exercises, and gentle cardiovascular exercise are among the safest options to improve the heart-brain connection alongside regular prescribed medications or treatments by a doctor or healthcare professional.
The guidance of certain mind-body practices, especially those with the potential to trigger emotions attached to negative experiences such as deep meditation or mind-wandering practices must be done under the guidance of a qualified professional. This person should understand both the positive and negative effects of mental practices and the delicate, intrinsic connections and reactions occurring in the brain while practising.
When facilitated by an expert, these practices are beneficial for reducing stress, lowering blood pressure and heart rate, increasing heart rate variability, reducing the harmful effects of an emotional response, and stabilizing the response from the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system. They all enhance the quality of life by contributing to a more connected self, and more coherent connection between your heart and your brain.
Sherezade Ruano is the founder of RhythmiaBreath, the first medical well-being programme in the UK to combine modern medicine with holistic practices for the prevention and rehabilitation of cardiovascular disease and mental wellbeing.
She currently combines her role as an arrhythmia specialist nurse at Imperial College NHS Trust, with her private practice as a stress management expert and wellness consultant in central London.
Emotional Rescue: The Heart-Brain Connection
Cerebrum. 2019 May-Jun; 2019: cer-05-19.
Published online 2019 May 1.
Copyright 2019 The Dana Foundation All Rights Reserved
The silent, often subconscious conversation that is taking place inside us is one of the most vital communications we will ever find ourselves engaged in. It’s the dialogue of emotion-based signals between our hearts and our brains, also known as the heart-brain connection. Our author tells us what research has uncovered and some of the keys to a longer, healthier life.
We’ve known for decades that smoking, hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes account for most cardiovascular problems. But it wasn’t until publication of the Interheart study (25,000 volunteers spanning 52 countries) that emotional stress was identified as another key risk factor, accounting for about one-third of heart attacks and strokes. Previously, in the 1970s, when volunteers were asked to begin to count to 100 and then to serially subtract seven’s in quick succession (in a test of “mental stress”), blood vessels constricted as if they had taken and failed a cardiac stress test. Except in these cases, testing occurred at rest.
In other words, external stressors that are not effectively managed have direct internal implications by placing undue stress on the heart. Fast forward from the 1970s to the present era, and a recent study of more than 135,000 men and women in Sweden that found a history of stress-related disorders, such as post-traumatic stress syndrome, increased the risk of cardiovascular disease by more than 60 percent within just the first year of diagnosis.
Mechanistically, the underlying cause of a heart attack is a sudden rupture of an unstable plaque within a coronary artery. During stressful situations, the “fight-or-flight” response jumps into full gear, releasing biochemical compounds such as adrenaline, which raises heart rate and blood pressure, and signals platelets to release a chemical, neuropeptide Y, that can cause spasm and transient occlusion of the coronary artery.
Another cardiac condition that can result from acute emotional stress is Takotsubo cardiomyopathy, named for the Japanese octopus-trapping pot that the heart comes to resemble. Most commonly occurring after a sudden catastrophic event such as losing a spouse, an outpouring of adrenaline creates a transiently “shocked” state characterized by markedly abnormal contractions in a section of left ventricle and by heart failure. Resolution of the emotional crisis coupled with supportive care generally, but not always, leads to recovery of heart function.
Beyond single, severely stressful events, living day-to-day with stress is clearly associated with increased risk of heart attack and stroke. We have only recently begun to understand the neurochemical pathways that generate atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease. They include close communication between the central nervous system, heart, adrenal gland, and kidneys involved in the activation and release of stress hormones such as cortisol and heart damaging neuropeptides.
On another level, we have come to appreciate that chronic psychosocial or mental stress accelerates cardiovascular disease by promoting inflammation, oxidative stress, and abnormal function of the endothelium, the protective inner lining of our blood vessels.
Connecting to the Brain’s Emotional Coding Center
If we are to understand how to improve emotional health, it would be useful to probe the brain’s emotional coding center, the amygdala. As an undergraduate at Rutgers University, I had the opportunity to work with Drs. Arthur Kling and Robert Deutsch, a psychiatrist and a neuroscientist doing seminal research into the role of the amygdala in socialization and emotion. After Kling’s team induced frontal lobe lesions in rhesus monkeys and severed connections to the amygdala, their social interactions came to a near halt. Similar behavioral patterns have been reported following amygdalotomy for other emotional behaviors in humans, including pathologic aggression. Loss of socialization skills also occurred after prefrontal lobotomy, as I directly encountered when recording social interactions in patients who had undergone the procedure.
The association between high levels of social connectivity and favorable cardiovascular effects, including better outcomes after stroke, raises the possibility that a larger amygdala may afford cardioprotection. The Leiden Longevity Study supports this concept: large left amygdala volumes were not only associated with a high level of emotional health, but also correlated with familial longevity. By contrast, reduced social interactions caused by panic disorders have been associated with reduced amygdala volumes in the lateral and basal regions believed to process fear and anxiety. These disorders correlate with reduced parasympathetic tone, a known contributor to cardiovascular disease risk.
Amygdala activity has also been suggested to play a role in cardiovascular disease risk prediction. For example, residing in high-paced, crowded, noisy, and polluted cities leads to activation of the perigenual anterior cingulate cortex, a brain region that regulates amygdala activity and response to psychosocial stress. Chronic exposure to stress results in allostatic load that adversely impacts brain plasticity and cardiovascular risk factors, including an exaggerated blood pressure response owing to activation of the perigenual cingulate cortex.
In a study conducted in Boston, increased amygdala activity at rest, assessed by PET/CT imaging, was also associated with blood vessel inflammation and risk of cardiovascular events over the next four years. The authors proposed that emotional stress signals a region of the amygdala to activate the sympathetic nervous system, promoting the production of pro-inflammatory white blood cells that may trigger heart attack, stroke, or sudden death. This study, among the first to demonstrate a direct relationship between emotional stressors and risk of cardiovascular events builds upon prior work identifying a direct association between amygdala reactivity (in response to threatening facial expressions) and increased carotid intima-media thickness, an anatomic biomarker of atherosclerosis and cardiovascular risk predictor.
Does counteracting negative stressors reduce cardiovascular risk? While no clinical outcome trials have been conducted to date, adoption of lifestyle strategies aimed at improving positive emotions seems to improve biomarkers of cardiovascular health, such as inflammation, arterial stiffness, and endothelial function. In my cardiology practice and as elaborated upon below, I recommend that my patients employ these five strategies to reduce day-to-day stressors:
Meditation (serotonin activated relaxation practices)
Yoga (GABA induced mood stabilization)
Laughter (endorphin mediated visual effects)
Music (dopamine regulated auditory effects
Massages, hugging (oxytocin activated tactile responses)
There are several mechanisms by which relaxation strategies such as these improve biomarkers of cardiovascular risk. The first is improvement in parasympathetic tone, the heart’s ability to maintain blood pressure and/or heart rate in the face of daily stressors. (This contrasts with the “fight-or-flight” response described earlier, an adaptive physiological mechanism characterized by increased sympathetic tone with associated rise in blood pressure and heart rate). Examples include the inordinate or “hysterical” strength that arose in a daughter attempting to save her father who was pinned under a car and a mother fighting off a lion that attacked her son.
Such isolated “spring into action” situations have no lasting cardiovascular consequences in otherwise healthy individuals. But regularly occurring stressful situations can result in persistently heightened sympathetic tone. Under these conditions, the heart is chronically stressed by exaggerated blood pressure and heart rate responses that endure after the stressful situation is resolved. A persistent increase in sympathetic tone, moreover, raises the likelihood of inflammation, abnormal heart rhythms, and increased risk of sudden cardiac death.
On the other hand, reduced sympathetic or increased parasympathetic or vagal tone enables the heart to manage stressors, keeping blood pressure and heart rate under better control during stress, and shortening recovery time after activities that raise heart rate (such as aerobic activity). Relaxation strategies like those described above are among the most effective ways to improve parasympathetic tone. Their benefits are also indicated by tests using heat mapping to evaluate the expression of genes that promote oxidative stress and inflammation, important biomarkers for cardiovascular disease.
One recent study, for example, found that in a group that had practiced meditation on a regular basis, the expression of pro-inflammatory genes was reduced compared to those who had never mediated. In the second stage of the study, one half of the non-meditating group was randomly assigned to relaxation training sessions incorporating meditation, prayer, and yoga. After two months, genetic expression of pro-inflammatory genes resembled that of long-time meditators. Practicing relaxation also reduced the expression of genes promoting insulin resistance, the forerunner of Type 2 diabetes. The results of this study not only affirmed the importance of brain-heart connections on a molecular level but found that relaxation can have a robust effect in a very short time, supporting the adage “never too late to start. ”
Mindfulness meditation, which has become one of the most popular relaxation practices over the past decade, combines heightened, non-judgmental awareness of one’s surroundings and feelings with slow deep breathing exercises. A stress-reduction program based on mindfulness has been associated with improvement in hypertension and depression, while strengthening the immune system and raising activity of telomerase, an enzyme that slows biological aging.
Researchers have also studied the cardiovascular impact of practices that incorporate relaxation and movement. Yoga and Tai Chi, for example, improve balance and coordination to help the elderly prevent falls and fractures, and bolster strength and stabilization. In cardiovascular terms, yoga is associated with reduced systolic blood pressure and cholesterol: a recent meta-analysis of 49 trials found that three sessions of yoga weekly reduced systolic blood pressure as much as low-dose antihypertensive medication. Tai Chi has been shown to help suppress inflammation and depression, both cardiovascular disease risk factors. Finally, yoga may also raise brain levels of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a neurotransmitter involved in mood stabilization and stress reduction and both yoga and meditation practices lead to the release of serotonin, another important neurotransmitter involved in mood regulation.
While it has long been thought that laughter can induce a sense of well-being through the release of endorphins, its connection to cardiovascular health has only become apparent in recent years. Specifically, the β-endorphins released by a hearty belly laugh bind to receptors on the surface of the vascular endothelium to release nitric oxide, a molecule with multiple cardioprotective properties. Recent studies have, in fact, found the risk of heart attack and stroke is reduced in individuals who laugh on a regular basis, compared to those who never or rarely laugh. Laughter also reduces stiffness and aging of blood vessels, including those in the brain.
A popular way to combine laughter with deep breathing techniques is through laughter yoga. The origins of this practice date back to 1995 when Dr. Madan Kataria, a family physician, assembled a small group in a public park in Mumbai, who met each morning to laugh together through a series of funny expressions and movements that Dr. Kataria devised. Nearly 25 years later, more than 15,000 laughter yoga clubs exist in more than 70 countries worldwide.
A typical session lasts from 30 to 60 minutes, during which a leader engages participants in exercises designed to elicit forced laughter that converts to emotional laughter as the session wears on. One popular exercise is “milkshake or cocktail laughter,” where participants pretend to pour a glass of milk (or cocktail) into one hand saying “here” then into the other hand repeating “here” and then pretending to drink it or discard it behind their shoulder with repeated laughter.
The benefits of laughter yoga include decreased cortisol levels and systolic blood pressure, as well as improvement in indices of depression and overall life satisfaction. While research in this field remains sparse, the encouraging results from these small-scaled studies support the development of a clinical trial in which laughter therapy is one component of an integrated therapeutic lifestyle designed to reduce cardiovascular events.
Music to Your Ears
A number of studies have demonstrated that listening to joyful music offers cardioprotective and neurobiological effects, including reduced inflammation, blood pressure and heart rate, improved parasympathetic tone, and shortened recovery following surgery. The “frisson effect” or the feeling of chills down the spine is a physiological consequence related to the release of dopamine in response to listening to or anticipating pleasurable music. A pilot study suggested that focusing on this sensation (i.e., mindful music) may be a useful intervention to speed recovery following stroke.
The Moral Molecule
The hormone and neurotransmitter oxytocin, released from the posterior pituitary during physical encounters such as touching and hugging, can lower blood pressure and heart rate. More surprisingly, research in recent years has demonstrated that the compound has a direct cardioprotective effect. In animal models, administration of oxytocin not only prevents the death of heart tissue that results in heart failure but may also regenerate new cells. In human studies, intranasal oxytocin has been shown to improve parasympathetic tone during a mental stress test and may offer relief in chronic pain; the latter has intriguing cardiovascular implications, because chronic pain is associated with increased risk of death from heart disease and stroke.
More work needs to be done to pinpoint the impact of many of the practices mentioned above. But there is already enough research to conclude that effective management of day-to-day psychosocial stressors is vital to good overall heart and brain health. Beyond good nutrition and regular physical activity, then, consider practicing meditation or yoga on a routine basis. Laugh, listen to music, and hug your favorite people and pets. Such are the keys to a longer, happier life.
Michael Miller, M.D., is Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Maryland School of Medicine and serves on the American Heart Association Leadership Council for Lifestyle and Cardiometabolic Health. He is past president of the American Society of Preventive Cardiology, serves as consultant for the National Library of Medicine and assisted the US Postal Service in developing the “Heart Health Stamp.” Miller earned his medical degree at Rutgers Medical School and completed residency at the University of Cincinnati Hospital and fellowships in metabolism and cardiovascular diseases at the Johns Hopkins Hospital. He has published more than 250 original scientific publications, book chapters and three books. His most recent book is Heal Your Heart, The Positive Emotions Prescription to Prevent and Reverse Heart Disease (Random House, 2014). Miller’s twitter feed is @mmillermd1
What Science Tells Us About Our Emotions and Our Hearts
“I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest. “
—Beatrice, “Much Ado About Nothing “
by William Shakespeare
Think for a moment about someone dear to you.
When you declare “I love you,” is that purely a statement of cognitive thought? Or simple, heartfelt emotion? A mix of both, one indistinguishable from the other?
Emotions can overwhelm our brains and our bodies. True love rushes. As does anguish. They travel our emotional highway between our hearts and our minds in a beat, the connection undeniable but difficult to measure.
So was Beatrice right? Did she not love with her mind as much as her heart alone?
While there is much still to understand, science already tells us there is no doubt that emotion impacts not only our mental health but also our physical well-being, especially that of the heart.
“A growing body of evidence suggests that psychological factors are — literally — heartfelt, and can contribute to cardiac risk,” Harvard’s Medical School reported.
A broken heart really can hurt you. But it doesn’t have to.
Here’s how it works.
Good Stressors vs. Bad
“You love me — then what right had you to leave me? … You, of your own will, did it. I have not broken your heart — you have broken it; and in breaking it, you have broken mine.”
— Heathcliff, “Wuthering Heights” by Emily Bronte
When you exercise, your heart beats faster, your blood pressure increases, your breathing picks up as your lungs work to oxygenate the blood your heart is pumping, energy (sugar) is sent to your muscles.
Through the course of a workout, this controlled exertion is regarded as a good thing for most.
And what happens when you receive devastating news, such as the death of a loved one?
Your heart beats faster, your blood pressure increases, your breathing picks up.
Similar reaction. So why is one good for you and the other not?
It’s the suddenness.
“The heart does not have time now to adapt to the necessary changes it needs to withstand this stress,” said Dr. Krishna Sudhir, divisional vice president, Abbott Vascular. “The heart begins to race without necessarily a compensatory increase in blood supply. And when the news is very serious, the interaction between the heart and the brain tends to be at its worst.”
Our hearts are innervated, meaning many nerves supply it. Some slow it down; they’re activated when we relax or meditate. Others turn on when we’re under emotional stress, causing the heart to quicken, ready for fight or flight.
For example, researchers from Duke University reported in the American Journal of Cardiology found that during the stock market crash from Sept. 2008 to March 2009, heart attacks steady increased. The bleak financial news was just too much for some to take.
Dr. Sudhir cited a recent study from Massachusetts General Hospital that looked at the connections between the brain and the heart.
“The study suggested that activity if the amygdala — an olive-shaped part of the brain deep within the emotional cortex — is overactive, your future risk of having a heart attack or stroke over the next three to five years is actually much higher,” Dr. Sudhir said. “As cardiologists, we’ve always known at some level that there’s a connection between emotions and heart disease. But when you see scientific data demonstrating the link, the point is actually being proved in a very direct way.”
The Dynamic in Men, Women and Children
“The reason it hurts so much to separate is because our souls are connected.”
— From “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks
How do gender and age impact how the heart responds to emotion and the mind? In ways you might imagine — and some you might not. As Dr. Sudhir explains, symptoms of heart issues play out very differently among men, women and kids.
In men, heart disease — or more specifically heart attacks — tend to be quite dramatic, taking a page out of Redd Foxx’s act as Fred Sanford: chest pain, clutching the chest, pain radiating to the left arm and so on. A man suffering a heart attack or symptoms of heart disease tends to be more obvious.
In women, they and society often ignore their symptoms more so than in men. Women can feel fatigued, unable to complete routine activities. Women’s symptoms tend more toward the subtle, which helps explain why women tend to present later in life with heart disease.
According to Dr. Sudhir, studies have suggested the sexes process happy and sad thoughts differently: “Particularly sad thoughts. The response may actually take longer to dissipate in women than it does in men. Anxiety and depression show a higher prevalence in women.”
Adults also tend to internalize problems and find themselves alone more. These factors can compound risk factors in adults.
“Emotional issues are often intertwined: people who have one commonly have another. For example, psychological stress often leads to anxiety, depression and can lead to social isolation,” Harvard reported through the Patient Education Center. “When combined, their influence is compounded.”
Life experiences in childhood may predict future mental health.
“We were all children once, and stressful experiences in childhood may lead to physical and emotional issues in adulthood,” Dr. Sudhir said. “Children can develop resilience but need supportive family and school environments, good pediatric care and adult advocacy.”
Sad Hearts, Broken Hearts
“The heart dies a slow death, shedding each hope like leaves until one day there are none. No hopes. Nothing remains.”
— Chiyo Sakamoto, “Memoirs of a Geisha” by Arthur Golden
Dying of a broken heart.
It’s a common refrain when spouses married for decades pass in short order, often within just months, days and, in some cases, hours.
June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash. He passed four months after her.
The parents of Doug Flutie, the Heisman trophy winner, died within an hour of each. Following the father’s heart attack, the mother suffered one too.
Most recently and perhaps most famously, it was the rationalization offered when actress Debbie Reynolds followed her daughter, actress Carrie Fisher, the next day.
They all died of broken hearts.
It can feel like futility when we try to explain the unexplainable. But is there a reasoned explanation, based in any scientific fact?
“Yes, indeed,” Dr. Sudhir said.
“Sad Heart Syndrome refers to when you’re depressed, you put your heart under quite a severe degree of strain. Depressed people are more likely to develop heart disease.
“Broken Heart Syndrome is a more sudden version of this, when you’re under severe emotional distress; for example, hearing about the death of a relative. The coronary arteries may go into spasm. There may be decreased blood supply to the heart. The heart might not contract the way it is supposed to.”
Stress hormones, particularly norepinephrine, may flood the circulation. This predisposes the heart to rhythmic disturbances, which can end up being fatal.
Dr. Sudhir said Japanese cardiologists have studied the phenomena extensively. They’ve even given it a name: Takotsubo, which is an octopus trap or catcher.
“When you take X-rays of the heart in people who suddenly heard bad news, the main heart chamber (left ventricle) balloons up and appears bloated like a fish. This is one pathological basis of the Broken Heart Syndrome,” Dr. Sudhir said.
When doctors record electrocardiograms of the heart under this kind of stress, it can resemble a heart attack. In fact, the heart muscle has suffered physically from the emotional insult of bad news.
Making the Connection Work for You
“My reason for life. Not living, but life. That was the touch. And she was his reason for life, and why he must survive.”
— From “Atonement” by Ian McEwan
Even as science parses out the physical connections between our hearts and minds to delve deeper into this relationship between the two, this much is beginning to be understood:
- We believe we can influence the brain-heart relationship positively through exercise, meditation, relaxation techniques and so on.
- Just as depression can take its toll on your heart, happier people tend to live longer and have fewer occurrences of heart disease.
- Restful sleep helps.
Dr. Sudhir sees a day when psychologists and psychiatrists are integral contributors to cardiology clinics, just as nutritionists and dietitians are often part of a patient’s rehab.
He also has some advice.
“The most important aspect is maintaining work-life balance. We emphasize this at Abbott. Most of us have interesting and challenging jobs that keep us excited at work. But there comes a time when you have to turn off and go home and relax, spend time with family and friends, and make sure that we have down time, that relaxation time.”
Taking stressors home can harm us from a cardiac point-of-view, he said, and keep us from being at our best at work the next day.
As Dr. Sudhir says, we’re just “scratching the surface” of understanding the role emotions play in heart health. But as science digs, it’s becoming clearer the long-term impact can extend out to the rest of our lives, including our ability to live our lives to their fullest.
“Love. The reason I dislike that word is that it means too much for me, far more than you can understand.”
— Anna Karenina, from the book of the same name by Leo Tolstoy
Heart and Mind Connections | Senior Lifestyle
February isn’t just for Valentine’s Day and white sales; the shortest month is filled with holidays, observances, fun little footnotes, and every four years, an extra day! It’s also American Heart Month, a time to raise awareness of heart healthy lifestyles and practices, and while we’ve focused on the effects of stress and diet on heart health, studies show that there’s another very important concept that helps hearts stay healthy: thankfulness. Additionally, we can train our brains to help increase this positive impact by turning negative thought processes around and focusing on positive reactions.
The heart/mind connection has been the subject of recent studies showing that the connection goes both ways, meaning that a healthy heart also helps lower the risk of dementia and memory loss. Heart disease and dementia share several risk factors, so protecting your heart also helps to protect your brain health. Angelos Halaris, MD, PhD, a professor of psychiatry and behavioral neurosciences at Loyola University’s Stritch School of Medicine notes that roughly half of the people battling heart disease develop depression, while people with depression are two to three times more likely to develop heart disease, noting that the connection can be a difficult cycle to break. “People know that their livelihood and life is in danger, and that becomes a major stress factor in the life of that individual, so we start going around and around in circles,” he says.
We know that thankfulness is good for us, but how do we cultivate an “attitude of gratitude”? The heart/mind connection is useful here as well: like many things, gratitude is a learned behavior and we can actually train ourselves to be thankful:
Say “thank you” regularly. Seems easy enough, but it’s something that’s often forgotten. From the person who hands you your morning coffee to the spouse who loads the dishwasher to the co-worker who fixes the jammed printer, opportunities abound to show gratitude. Taking the time to pen (or type an email) thank you note also reinforces gratitude!
When we focus on what is happening right now instead of worrying about what should happen next, we are more able to be grateful for the little things. Whether you’re exercising, eating a great meal, or enjoying a conversation, focus on being completely present in order to fully appreciate each experience.
Create a “thankfulness journal”. Keeping a written reminder of what we’re thankful for not only serves as a great reminder to be positive, it reinforces that positivity by cementing those memories. And of course, there are journal applications you can download to your phone as reminders to keep a written record!
At Senior Lifestyle, we strive to create a culture of gratitude, celebrating both large-scale successes and everyday triumphs with residents, team members and families in our communities. To learn more about a Senior Lifestyle community in your area, please visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com.
90,000 Heart and Mind – Power Struggle or Love? – To the sun
So, husband and wife. He and she. He is intelligent. She is heartfelt. Both are different. This is a classic. Of course, in life, not everyone succeeds in being classic husbands and wives. But you and I are talking about a creation not made by hands – our mind and our heart. And in nature, all functions are clearly distributed. The main function of the wife-heart is feelings, intuition and will. The heart is a motor without which a normal organism cannot live. He is nourished by energies – ideally, of the Divine nature.The husband-mind has a different task. He is an effective implementer of heart energy. He makes plans, analyzes, takes into account risks, makes informed decisions and, finally, manages – gives commands to the executing body. Reason is the controller. The heart is a leader. Is it possible to build a happy relationship with such differences?
I am convinced that yes. If everyone will do their own thing and listen to the “half” with confidence. But more often this is prevented by the following diseases of the relationship.
1. Struggle for power
This is when the husband and wife (mind and heart) start a game called “Who is the boss?”
As soon as the husband imagines that he is in charge of the family, and the wife is “so silent,” distortions begin.Because the wife simply does not intend to be silent. Her job is to feel and prompt. It is, of course, easy to drown out (which some husbands do with pleasure), but no one will benefit from this. Interrupting the heart, the mind cuts off access to Divine energy. And he begins to be wise and cunning, little by little “going mind over mind.” This is a disaster. Because you can get out of this state only by the same route.
If the wife is in charge, expect no less trouble. Feelings – they are not only kind.Separating the seeds from the chaff and directing energy into a useful channel is the task of the husband-mind. And if there is an overabundance of heart power in the family, the couple will be “brought in” like a car without brakes. At the same time, the mind gradually wears out, and both run the risk of “going off the rails.”
2. Role reversal
But there is another game in the family. It’s called “Let me steer!” Imagine that a wife-heart wants to make decisions on her own one day. “Husband, let me steer!” She asks. And the husband-reason replies: “No problem! In the meantime, instead of you, I brainstorm God’s plan for us.”And reckless creativity began … She – succumbs to dubious impulses, and he – invents a route unnecessary to God. It’s good if they stop in time …
3. Lack of communication
The family where the husband and wife communicate regularly lives well. And if the connection is interrupted? For example, he solves world problems, and she is all gone into experiences. What then? Then it can turn out to be extremely unreasonable and unbearably painful. And you will need someone else’s mind or someone else’s heart to help them save themselves and relationships.Some call it “God alone can save”.
Everything looks smooth here. Husband and wife together. Communicate. Power was divided. Each in its place. But take a closer look at them – “quiet pool”. The husband-mind does not trust the wife-heart. She – begins to suffer and fade away. Little by little, faith in him also disappears (“where is he without me? Write lost!”). He feels her cooling and ceases to control (“all the same one devil needs it!”). As a result – extinction and stagnation (the poet called this state “both boring and sad, and there is no one to give a hand in a moment of mental adversity”).”And the years pass – all the best years” …
In a happy and healthy relationship, everyone is busy with their own business. The contact is constantly maintained. Hand on the pulse. And Divine energy flows like a river, guiding both. The wife-heart burns and glows. The husband-mind does not get tired of moving mountains. Both are bathed in love. And time … Time loses its meaning …
And how do your heart and mind relate to each other? 🙂
What do we love: heart or head?
Valentine’s Day has spread throughout the world for a long time.No wonder. Love is a universal concept. And although the heart is considered a symbol of love, in fact everything that is connected with love is in your head. More precisely, in that small part of the brain that is “responsible” for the production of dopamine, the “pleasure hormone.” These are the conclusions of the research conducted at the American Rutgers University by Professor Helen Fisher. At one time, she presented the results of her work to the UN. The meeting could be called “Love: why, when and how.” Eugene Menkes learned the basics of the science of love according to Helen Fischer.
“Love is all you need,” the Beatles sang. But such a statement is not always enough. Many people want to know exactly what it is all the same – love? Professor Helene Fischer devoted many years of scientific work to the search for an answer to this question. According to her classification, there are three types of love, and they are all related to the work of the brain. First, lust. It is behind the pursuit of sexual gratification. Second, romantic love is a powerful and dizzy feeling typical of early relationships between two people.And finally, the attachment inherent in long-term relationships.
Professor Fisher says that each of the three types of love meets different needs and is associated with different chemicals in the body:
“Romantic love, for example, involves substances that, as we say, literally throw people into each other’s arms. It’s oxytocin and vasopressin. ”
Both of them are hormones of the posterior lobe of the pituitary gland. Specifically, vasopressin is a peptide neurohormone produced in the hypothalamus.It enters the pituitary gland and then into the blood. This is the chemical chain of command that the brain gives to other parts of the body. Helen Fisher explains that different types of love arise for different reasons:
“Sexual attraction orients an individual towards a whole group of partners. Romantic love pushes your youthful powers to find one person. And attachment allows you to endure a partner for a long time, sufficient to raise a child together, or even several children.When you fall in love, the three brain systems interact with each other. And all of a sudden, everything about the subject of adoration becomes attractive, sexy, even if he – or she – just gets on the bus or just smooths his hair. ”
Survey of volunteers by magnetic resonance imaging conducted at the American Rutgers University showed that lovers have the highest brain activity. “I asked: Are you ready to die for your beloved or for your beloved? – says Mrs. Fischer.- “Yes, the majority simply answered, as if I asked at the table to pass me salt or pepper.” Another discovery: the emergence of a stable psycho-physiological dependence on love, reminiscent of drug addiction.
“There are all the signs of drug addiction. Obsessions, insane aspirations, profound personal changes, distortion of reality, inappropriate behavior, the desire to withdraw into oneself, and even the recurrence of crises. Your romance has just ended in failure when you hear a song on the radio that reminds you of your lost friend.And you again rush to him or her. Obviously, this should be viewed as a real addiction. ”
Professor Fisher warns of the dangers of further development of antidepressants that increase serotonin levels in the brain. The fact that they suppress sex drive is already known. But Helen Fisher believes that romantic love and affection for a partner are also “victims” of such medications. People are living longer today, she says. They use Viagra, testosterone creams, estrogen patches and other advances in modern medicine.All this opens up new opportunities for elderly people to find a suitable partner for themselves.
90,000 What is responsible for the mind: the heart or the brain?
We remind you that Sharia does not oblige you to have any conviction in this matter: where is the mind – in the heart or in the head? You can, of course, find out the correct opinion for yourself, but this is not a question of aqida, which every Muslim must have, especially since there has been disagreement among the imams on this issue for a long time.
The correct opinion is that the mind, which is responsible for guidance and guidance on the true path, is in the heart, and the mind, through which a person thinks, is in the brain.
Allah Almighty says: “Did they not wander the earth, having hearts by which they could understand, and ears by which they could listen? Indeed, it is not the eyes that go blind, but the hearts that are in the chest go blind ” (al-Hajj 22:46).
Also, Allah Almighty said: “We created many jinn and people for Hell. They have hearts that do not understand ” (al-A’raf 7: 179).
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Indeed, there is a piece in the body that, if it is good, makes the whole body good, and if it is bad, it makes the whole body worthless.And this is the heart! ” al-Bukhari 52, Muslim 1599.
Imam al-Nawawi said concerning this hadith: “This hadith was used as an argument that the mind is in the heart, not in the head, and there is a certain disagreement on this issue. Our madhhab (Shafi’is) and most mutakallims is that the mind is in the heart. And Abu Hanifa said: “The mind is in the brain.” And it was said that he was in the head. Also, the first opinion was passed on from philosophers, and the second opinion – from doctors. Al-Maziri said: “Those who believed that the mind was in the heart relied on the words of the Almighty: “ Did they not wander the earth, having hearts through which they could understand, and ears through which they could listen? Indeed, it is not the eyes that go blind, but the hearts that are in the chest go blind. “ They also relied on the aforementioned hadith. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made the salvation of the body and its corruption a consequence of the heart, while the brain is also a part of the body, therefore, the worthlessness and salvation of the brain also depends on the heart. And it becomes clear that the brain is not the seat of the mind. ” See Sharh Saheeh Muslim 11/29.
Qada Abu Ya’la said: “The place of the mind is the heart, which Abu al-Hasan at-Tamimi spoke about in the book“ al-‘Akl ”(Mind), saying:“ What we say: Mind in the heart whose light rises to the brain! ” Cf.Al-‘Udda 1/89.
They asked Sheikh Ibn Usaymin: “Is it from aqidah ahlu-Sunnah that the place of reason is the heart, since Allah says: ” Did they not wander the earth, having hearts through which they could understand “ (al -Hajj 22:46). Or does the meaning of the word “understand” in the verse mean: to meditate? Give us guidance on what aqida ahlu-Sunna is in this, so that we have such a conviction. Jazaka-Llahu Hayran! ”
Sheikh Ibn Uzaimin said: “And what is the use of this?! … Does the Qur’an indicate that the mind is in the heart or in the head? It is correct that the mind is in the heart, but it has a connection with the brain, as Imam Ahmad said: “The place of the mind is the heart, but it has a connection with the brain.”After all, it is now known that if the brain goes into disorder, then the mind will also go into disorder. If they say: “I don’t know if anyone said that the mind responsible for leadership is in the heart, and for understanding is in the brain?” If this is said, then this is not far from the correct opinion! There is a difference between the mind of leadership, which is good thinking, and the mind of understanding, which is the result of tangible understanding. ”
And as for the educated unbelievers, no matter how smart they are, they are not reasonable in the true sense of the word, for if they were really reasonable, they would not have died unbelievers! And Allah Almighty announced this through the lips of the unbelievers themselves, who will say about it on the Day of Judgment: “If we listened and were reasonable, we would not be among the inhabitants of the Flame!” (al-Mulk 67: 10).
I.e. the mind of all unfaithful scientists was the mind of the brain, the consequence of which is learning, etc., while they are deprived of the mind of the heart, the consequence of which is the reflection on the truth and correct leadership!
Source: Salaf Forum
FGBNU NTSPZ. ‹– Depersonalization ››
In the highest stage of our consciousness, in the verbal-mental stage, the problems of the relationship between reason and feeling are the most important. These two powerful engines of human actions are constantly found both in the process of thinking and in the daily behavior of the individual.
IM Sechenov in his work “To whom and how to develop psychology” gives the correct one. definition of the unity of cognition and feeling in a person: “Along with the elements of all thinking, consciousness distinguishes mental movements of a completely different nature, to which it gives the generic name of feeling (feeling of pleasure or disgust, expectation, fear, joy, longing, sadness, delight, etc.) … Who does not know, in fact, that feeling differs from representation or thought in impetuosity, subjectivity, inability to dismember, that on this basis it does not lend itself to direct description in words, despite the harshness with which it is often recognized … These basic forms (mind and feeling) the entire purely spiritual sphere of a person is summed up for self-consciousness, if we cast aside its external manifestation, i.e.e. actions. ”
It is hardly possible even to imagine the presence of only one “pure” abstract mental activity in a particular person. This logical thought must, first of all, have its own certain living carrier, which produces thoughts to achieve the corresponding goal in its subsequent actions. The presence of a goal indicates the direction, aspiration of the personality, which is usually found in the form of desires, feelings, affects, passions.
The value of our feelings is determined by what they arise from, where they are directed, what is their content and meaning in social life.In a person’s personal life, it often happens when his feelings come into an acute conflict of a conflicting nature with the content of his thoughts.
Feelings opposed to a logical necessity in the corresponding situation and realized in a person’s actions usually lead to failures and disasters in life. “A man who builds a house on one heart builds it on a fire-breathing mountain” (Herzen) 1. And vice versa, feelings that powerfully stimulate the realization of the high socio-ethical character of ideas move forward, elevate the personality: “Ascending into the sphere of the universal, passion is not lost, but is transformed, losing its wild, convulsive side; its subject is higher, holier; as interests expand, concentration around their personality decreases, and with it the poisonous burning of passion. “
In many of his works, Herzen analyzed the relationship between reason and feeling: he considered it necessary “to reconcile the heart and reason so that a person does not regard the fulfillment of his real duty as a heavy burden, but finds pleasure in it, as in a mode of action, the most natural and recognized by his reason “.
I. S. Turgenev in his story “Faust” expressed the following thought: “Life is not a joke and not fun; life is not even enjoyment … life is hard work. Renunciation is constant — this is its secret meaning, its solution — the failure to fulfill favorite thoughts and dreams, no matter how elevated — the fulfillment of duty, this is what a person should take care of; without imposing on himself chains, iron chains of duty, he cannot reach the end of his career without falling. “
This philosophical and ethical problem, formulated and embedded by the author in the mouth of the hero of the story, provoked objection from Dobrolyubov N.A. He noted that this view has a very commendable side, namely, respect for the requirements of moral duty. But, on the other hand, this view, according to Dobrolyubov, is extremely sad, because he directly recognizes the needs of human nature as the opposite demands of duty. “It seems that the wrong person can be called a truly moral person, who only endures the dictates of duty, like some kind of heavy yoke, like“ moral chains, ”namely the one who cares to merge the demands of duty with the needs of his inner being, who tries to process them into your flesh and blood by the internal process of self-knowledge and self-development, so that they not only become instinctively necessary, but also bring inner pleasure. “
As you can see, here Dobrolyubov N.A.’s criticism of the concept of “moral chains” preached by I.S. Turgenev completely coincides with the views of A.I. Herzen, who demanded that a person should not consider the fulfillment of his duty a heavy burden, but find pleasure.
M. Gorky in his philosophical poem “Man”, which can be called a hymn to the human mind, warns a person about the special danger of low egoistic feelings of a philistine character: “And only Thought is a friend of Man, and only with her is he always inseparable, and only the flame of thought illuminates before him the obstacles of his path, the mystery of life, the darkness of the secrets of nature and the dark chaos in his heart … ” the way to the barnyard of calm self-satisfaction.But the thought is proud, and the Man is dear to her – it enters into an evil battle with the Lie, and the battlefield is the Heart of Man. But if a Man is poisoned by the poison of lies, incurably and sadly believes that there is no happiness on earth higher than satiety, peace and small conveniences, then in captivity of a jubilant feeling Thought sadly lowers its wings and – slumbers, leaving Man in the power of his heart. ”
At the end of his poem, Gorky optimistically proclaims, like Herzen and Dobrolyubov, the victory of the human mind and the merging of high social feelings adequate to it: “The day will come – in my chest the world of my feelings with my immortal Thought will merge into one great and creative flame, and with this flame I will burn out from my soul everything dark, cruel and evil, and I will be like those gods that my Thought created and creates Everything in Man – everything for Man. “
In these remarkable statements of Dobrolyubov, Herzen and Gorky, we see the philosophical foundations of the moral consciousness of the individual. From these lofty moral ideas, the basic principles of communist ethics must be developed.
The dual contradictory nature of human consciousness was noticed even in the deep antiquity of the history of society.
In almost all stages of the development of philosophical and psychological trends, this problem was subjected to a deep discussion of a controversial nature.The centuries-old discussion was conducted mainly between representatives of sensationalism, on the one hand, and rationalism, on the other.
Even Aristotle, in his treatise On the Soul, wrote that “striving moves in spite of reason, because desire is a kind of striving. Indeed, the mind always acts correctly, while striving and imagination are sometimes right and sometimes wrong. The object of striving always sets in motion, but this is either a real good or an apparent good … Aspirations can turn out to be opposite to each other, and it happens when the mind opposes desires, but it arises in those who have a sense of time.After all, the mind orders to abstain in view of the future, while desires urge to reckon with what is received immediately … ”. Here Aristotle expresses a profoundly correct thought that in the struggle of opposite tendencies in the consciousness of a person, feelings by their impulsiveness and impetuosity give way to the superiority of reason, which has the ability to foresee.
Representatives of the Stoic philosophy believed that affects are absolutely dependent on our will and that we can infinitely control them, but the experience, crying against this, forced them to admit, contrary to their principles, that it takes a lot of skill and diligence to limit and curb affects.
Representatives of the medieval Christian church preached the polarity of soul and body; they demanded the mortification of the flesh and the passions, which are the causes of evil.
The problem of the relationship between reason and feeling was of great interest to the followers of both sensationalist and rationalistic directions.
The founder of sensationalism, John Locke, in his Experiment on the Human Mind, in the chapter on perception, points out that “the deepest and lasting impression is made from the very beginning by those ideas that are accompanied by pleasure or pain.Since the great work of the senses is to warn us about everything that is harmful or beneficial to the body, it is wisely arranged by nature that suffering accompanies the perception of various ideas. Taking the place of thoughtfulness and prudence in children, provoking actions that precede consideration in adults, this condition forces young and old to avoid dangerous objects with the haste necessary for self-preservation and to reinforce the fear for the future in their memory. ”
Rationalists adhere to the opposite point of view: they extol the leading powerful role of intellect, reason, and although they attach great importance to feelings and passions, in the analysis of the contradictions between reason and passions, they show a clear tendency to attribute a negative role to the latter.
However, the views of the rationalists cannot be equated with the religious Christian concept of the mortification of the flesh and passions. Christian teaching considers human passions as a blind fatal destructive force, realizing the dominance of the lower bodily nature of man over the higher manifestations of the spirit of unearthly nature. In contrast to this religious principle, for which passion is always an evil of sensory origin, rationalists give it a positive meaning as a source of active human activity.Such were the views of Descartes and Spinoza.
Spinoza in his “Ethics” further sharpens the intellectualistic concept of Descartes, believing that the power of the soul is determined only by its cognitive ability, and only with its help a person can find means against affect.
“People who control the mind, that is, people who seek their own benefit under the guidance of reason, do not feel attracted to anything that they would not want other people, and therefore they are just, loyal and honest.”Elsewhere in his treatise, Spinoza points out that the knowledge of good and evil arouses emotional excitement and often gives way to desires of all kinds. “From here was born the famous saying of the poet:” … I see and approve of the best, and follow the worst “(Ovid” N.) The same was understood, it seems, and Ecclesiastes, saying: “He who increases his knowledge increases his suffering.” I say this not with the aim of concluding from this that it is better not to know, or that in curbing affects there is no difference between the rational and the stupid, but because it is necessary to know both the ability and the inability of our nature in order to be able to determine what the mind is capable of in curbing affects and what is not. “
Hegel in his “Lectures on Aesthetics” characterizes the duality of the affective and cognitive aspects of consciousness in the following words:
“… On the one hand, we see that a person is held captive by the vulgar reality and earthly existence, suffers under the yoke of need and want, is pursued by nature, entangled in matter, sensual goals and pleasures, enslaved and seized by the flow of natural drives and passions. On the other hand
we see that he rises q, about eternal ideas, to the kingdom of thought and determination, removes from the universe the cover of its revitalized, blossoming reality and decomposes it into abstractions … But along with this split of life and consciousness, a requirement for modern culture and its rational thinking find a solution to this contradiction ”.
Hegel tries to find a solution to these contradictions of consciousness in their abstract reconciliation. Hegel, as well as all other rationalists, consider separate aspects of consciousness as abstract phenomena isolated from each other, and they look for the sources of these contradictions in the thought process itself. And therefore, he does not find any other way out, except for their reconciliation in the sphere of abstract thought.
Where, then, is the basis of this inner duality of consciousness of the individual? We find the correct solution to this problem among the founders of Marxism.What is the nature of human consciousness? Is it possible to reveal the pattern of development of consciousness only in the sphere of the abstract psyche and outside of organic connection with a specific social historical environment?
Only the giants of thought, Marx and Engels, give the only correct answers to these questions. Marx’s classical analysis of the consciousness of the individual in one of his early works “Preparatory work for the Holy Family” shows that “the activity of labor and the spirit, both in their content and in the way of their origin, are social: they are social activity and the social spirit,” and further: “… the activity of my universal consciousness, as such, is my theoretical being as a social being.”
In the book German Ideology, Marx and Engels consider consciousness as the relationship of the individual to his environment. “Consciousness is, of course, first of all, the consciousness of the immediate sensory environment and the consciousness of a limited connection with other persons and things that are outside the beginning individual who is conscious of himself.”
At the dawn of the development of primitive man, when people stood on the borderline between biological and social forms of existence, their main biological need was the need for existence.Then the animal consciousness of nature still dominated, which seemed to be an alien, omnipotent and dominating force over them.
The emerging new form of social life in the depths of biological natural existence on the basis of still primitive instinctive forms of labor has come to a new form of cognition of the world – to logical cognition. Due to the low level of development of social relations, then the meager, primitive objectivity of sensory consciousness and action prevailed.
Biological needs are subject to change over a long period and acquire a socio-ethical character.A sensual need for certain surrounding objects is expressed in the form of desires, emotions, passions. On this occasion, Marx writes: “The power of the objective essence is in me, a stormy sensory manifestation of my essential activity, which is passion, which thus becomes here the activity of my being.” Further, he believes that “passion is an essential human force vigorously striving for its subject.”
These needs and aspirations stimulate the further development of the cognitive process of consciousness, which arose on the basis of the social production of material goods.In this regard, Marx notes that “the already satisfied first need, the action of satisfaction and the already acquired instrument of satisfaction lead to new needs, and this generation of new needs is the first historical thing.” other, as a manifestation of the emotional, affective activity of his consciousness.
It must be assumed that in the process of an active social relationship of the individual to the environment, the developing consciousness appears in the inner unity of the cognitive content and the emotional form of manifestation.
Internal unity and the contradictory nature of the diffusion of consciousness is the result of a subjective reflection of an objective complex and contradictory process of the relationship between a person and his social environment, and above all between a person’s personal needs and his own material, production, moral and ethical possibilities for their implementation.
A distinctive feature of the logical sphere of consciousness is the cognition of connections and relationships in the surrounding phenomena and the personality itself in motion, in development.Individual thinking is not a dry, amorphous logical process that is the same for all people – it always appears in unity with emotional activity, which is a sensory form of the cognizable content of thinking. Emotional activity stimulates cognition, creating a sensual, need for new cognition, that is, calling the title an internal, stimulating motive for cognition, which is its prerequisite.
Cognitive activity (as a leading one) provides the emotional experience with an objective social content, gives it the character of definiteness and completeness: the displayed reality in thinking is not a reflection in general, but a definite, concrete reflection, which should be emotionally experienced in a certain way.
The way of expressing sensory experience is also determined by logical cognition. Indeed, the manifestation of emotions and affects in children is not significantly different from the effectiveness of cultured adults. This difference undoubtedly depends enormously: to a degree on the level of development and content of the intellect.
Further, the question arises – what is the dynamics of the content of ideas in the consciousness of a developing personality. Is a person a passive, mechanical and stencil accumulator of public views, ideas and theories? It turns out that the situation is not so simple.
First of all, there are social ideas and theories that have become obsolete and serve the interests of the moribund forces of society. Their significance lies in the fact that they hinder the development of society, its advancement. There are new, advanced ideas and theories that serve the interests of the advanced forces of society. Their importance lies in the fact that they facilitate the development of society, its advancement, and they acquire the greater importance, the more accurately they reflect the needs of the development of the material life of society. “
All that “new” that begins to emerge in social development is picked up by the consciousness of those individuals who, due to their social status, already have a need for this “new”, but more often these individuals do not immediately instill the “new” because the “old “Is still nesting in the mind, still resisting the penetration of the” new. ” The question is, in what form do the old conservative ideas exist in the consciousness of the individual?
Old views are tenaciously held in the form of long-term fixed specific needs, skills, habits, traditions that appear in the mind in the form of an emotional-affective orientation.There is a struggle between the “new” and the “old”, between the new content in the cognitive process and the old form in the affective activity of consciousness.
The decisive role in the course of this struggle of contradictory tendencies in consciousness is played by the practice of further changing the social forms of society’s existence. With a further change in the economic basis of society, the theological superstructure, social consciousness, and old views are gradually being replaced by the consciousness of people.
The consciousness of the individual is finally altered only when the new content destroys old skills, habits and traditions in the practice of life and finally displaces the old content from emotional-affective experiences and then creates new needs, new skills and habits and new emotional-affective experiences.
In ordinary everyday life of a person in consciousness, his cognitive content, that is, knowledge of the surrounding reality, goes ahead; the forms of manifestation of this content, that is, emotional experiences, affects, passions, drives, skills and habits, their purposeful orientation often lags behind the new cognitive content; they still feed on data from the old mental content to varying degrees.
One must think that knowledge of new ideas arising from new social conditions of life, at first, far from completely changes and brings human behavior in line with a new social necessity.Only after the new reality contributes to the development of a new emotional orientation, new interests, skills and habits, and all this acquires a vital meaning for the individual, only then can we say about the alteration of human consciousness and the emergence of a new (adequate to reality) stimulating stimulus, leading behavior in the form of a new content of moral and ethical orientation.
If the new content of cognition corresponds and favors the basic vital interests of the individual, then the old form (feelings, skills, etc.)) is relatively easily rebuilt and replaced by a new form generated by new knowledge. If the new cognitive content does not correspond and goes against the main personal life interests, the orientation of the personality, then an acute contradiction arises, a conflict that is resolved in a very difficult form by the restructuring of the basic life attitudes of the individual, or the conflict is resolved tragically (illness, death, etc.). ).
New forms of a sensory-emotional nature, new skills and habits (according to Lenin, habits have terrible power), which have arisen on the basis of new cognitive content, become a powerful stimulus, a source of activity, resilience and energy in personal and social activities, contributing to the further development of new creative and cognitive content consciousness of personality.
So, new ideas easily penetrate and take root in the event that the socio-economic situation creates a social need for this “new”, because an affective orientation against old views has accumulated in consciousness. The passion that takes possession of the consciousness of advanced people of a particular era, relatively easily absorbs the logical content of new ideas and gradually displaces the remnants of the old from its consciousness.
Thus, summarizing the data on the ideological and psychological development of the individual consciousness of the personality, it is necessary to emphasize once again that this is not a simple and smooth movement of thought, but on the contrary development, which is carried out thanks to the contradictory, dual nature of consciousness, thanks to the inner struggle of the cognitive content and sensory affective form of its manifestation.This inner contradictoriness of the content of consciousness reflects the struggle between the “old” and the “new” in the objective practice of human life. Lenin in his “Philosophical Notebooks” points out that “the reflection of nature in human thought must be understood not” dead “, not” abstract “, not without movement, not without contradictions, but in the eternal process of movement, the emergence of contradictions and their resolution.”
Not only ideological, but also the usual development of personality traits, his self-consciousness, his “I” to a great extent depends on the dynamics of this internal contradictory structure of consciousness. In all likelihood, here we need to look for the basic psychological regularity of the development and alteration of the personality’s consciousness.
The correct psychological development of a person’s consciousness, thanks to the inextricable connection and constant verification from the objective practice of life, shows that a powerful mind is the leading moment to the social formation of the individual. The beautiful and wise dictum of Dante from the fourth song of Paradise, that “the satisfaction of the spirit consists in the knowledge of the truth”, is never fading in the centuries.
How does it feel to feel two hearts in your chest
- David Robson
- BBC Future
Photo Credit, Getty
A patient who received an “extra” heart felt that his perception of the world has changed …How exactly? Correspondent
BBC Future has discovered interesting facts about how the human body works.
Every second Carlos felt a small tubercle throbbing in his stomach. It was the rhythm of his “second heart”.
He had this small mechanical pump implanted to relieve the strain on the weakened muscles of his heart, but Carlos (name has been changed) did not like the sensation. The rhythmic operation of the machine seemed to replace his own pulse and distorted the perception of his body: the pump pulsed above the navel, causing a strange feeling as if the chest had fallen into the stomach.
This sensation was unusual and disturbing. However, the neurologist Agustin Ibanez of the University of Favaloro in Buenos Aires, Argentina, who examined Carlos, suggested that even stranger effects would follow. According to Ibanez, by giving the patient another heart, the surgeons also influenced his mind: Carlos, as a result of the operation, will think, feel and act differently than before.
How did it happen? We often use the expression “follow the call of the heart”, but only recently have researchers begun to find evidence that there is some truth to this metaphor – the constantly contracting lump of muscles in our chest actually affects emotions and intuition.Feelings of all kinds – from empathy with someone else’s pain to suspicion that your partner is cheating on you – can arise under the influence of subtle signals from the heart and from other parts of the body.
The man with two hearts inside gave Agustin Ibanez a unique opportunity to test such theories.
“Insignificant Cranial Filling”
Ibanez’s work echoes an ongoing debate for millennia about the role of the heart in thought processes. Once people believed that it is more important in this respect than the brain.Aristotle, for example, feeling the cool and moist gray medulla, decided that its main function was to cool the passions generated by the heart – and the heart, in turn, he considered the abode of the soul. For the same reasons, the embalmers of Ancient Egypt always left the heart in the chest of mummies, while removing the insignificant “cranial filling”.
Photo author, Getty
The modern point of view of the mind differs from the ancient ideas
The modern point of view of the mind, of course, is very different from these early ideas, but the image of the heart as a source of emotions turned out to be stable: just look, how many poetic metaphors exist on this topic.William James, the founder of modern psychology, helped formulate this concept in the 19th century by suggesting that emotions are part of the cycle of interactions between the brain and body. According to his theory, the brain can recognize a threat on a purely intellectual level – but a sharply jumped pulse and sweaty palms turn this abstract information into a powerful emotion.
James raised an important question: If different people perceive and control their bodies differently, does this affect their emotions? It is quite difficult to find out experimentally, but a hundred years later, scientists took up the task of solving this problem.
In the course of the experiments, the subjects were asked to first assess their own pulse, focusing only on the sensations in the chest – without putting a hand on the chest and without feeling the pulse on the wrist or neck. Try it yourself, and you will see that this is surprisingly difficult: about a quarter of people are mistaken by 50% (they seem to feel little or no heartbeat), and only a quarter of the subjects fit within an error of 80%. After checking the participants in the experiment for this parameter, the scientists gave them other tests.
It turns out that William James was absolutely right. People who felt their bodies more subtly reacted more strongly to emotionally colored images and, judging by the reviews, these images caused them more emotional experiences, and they were better able to describe the feelings they experienced. It is also important that their sensitivity extends to those around them – they better recognize emotions on faces. In addition, they learn to avoid danger more quickly (for example, a light electric shock in the laboratory) – perhaps because more intense sensations are better stored in memory and strengthen the conditioned reflex.
Photo author, Thinkstock
The one who has a subtle sense of his body leads a more emotionally colored life
“Perhaps this way we learn faster to evaluate the benefits or harms of objects, our decisions and various options for action”, – says Daniela Ferman of UC Berkeley.
In other words, people who have a good sense of their own body lead more emotionally rich and vibrant lives – this applies to both its good moments and bad ones.“Even if we are not able to accurately describe the physiological sensations corresponding to some pleasant life experience, we will recognize these sensations if they visit us again,” Ferman notes.
These same secret body signals may explain how our intuition works – the inexplicable foresight that, for example, you have a winning poker hand (just such an elegant experiment was performed by Barney Dunn in Exeter University in England).The task was simple: the volunteers were asked to choose a card from one of four decks, and they won money if the suit matched another, already open card.
The decks were rigged in such a way that two of them gave a slightly higher probability of winning, and the other two gave a slightly lower probability of winning. Dunn found that people with better heart rates were more likely to choose cards from certain decks, while those with less fine tuning tended to choose cards at random.
The participants in the experiment, who felt their bodies better, did not always choose the right decks (some of them won the most, others lost the most), but they clearly trusted their intuition.
Photo author, Thinkstock
Perhaps Aristotle was right when he said that the heart is the abode of the soul?
So, it seems that popular wisdom is not mistaken: people who feel their heart are more likely to follow instincts – with both good and bad results. All of this research made Agustín Ibanez wonder: what about patients with artificial hearts? If important new traits were discovered in Carlos’ behavior, one could conclude that human consciousness is really not limited to the brain.
This is exactly how it turned out. When Carlos counted out his pulse, he was guided by the rhythm of the machine, not his heart. Therefore, it is not surprising that the implantation made him feel his body differently (for example, to feel that the chest was significantly enlarged). In some ways, the psychological effect of his operation resembles the well-known “rubber hand illusion”, when the subject, through a series of manipulations, manages to convince that the artificial hand is in fact his own.
Importantly, Carlos has significantly changed his social and emotional perception of the world.For example, he did not show much sympathy when looking at photographs of people suffering painful injuries. He also had difficulties with understanding the motives of the actions of others, intuition was not expressed.
All of this confirms the theory that the body strongly influences the emotional state. “A very interesting and promising study,” commented Barney Dunn on the results.
Unfortunately, Carlos died as a result of complications from further treatment, but Ibanez hopes to continue the experiments with other subjects.He is now conducting tests with patients receiving heart donations, hoping to understand how this transplant is changing their bodily sensations. Damage to the vagus nerve should hinder the transmission of signals from the heart to the brain, and therefore affect consciousness.
In addition to cardiac surgery patients, Ibanez also works with people who have a strange feeling that they do not live in their own body – and is trying to find out if this is due to a violation of communication between the brain and the rest of the body.”I feel lifeless, as if my body is an empty, lifeless case,” one of these patients told the researchers. “I wander the world, I recognize it, but I do not feel it.” Ibanez found that such people usually feel worse about their bodies, and, judging by the results of magnetic resonance imaging of their brains, this is due to a violation of connections in the anterior insular lobe – a deep fold of the brain that responds, respectively, to bodily sensations, perception of emotions, empathy, decision making and general self-awareness.
Photo author, Thinkstock
How often do you feel like a lifeless case?
As a clinical psychologist, Barney Dunn is more interested in the relationship of these factors to depression. “At present, therapy is mainly about the head: we change the client’s train of thought and hope that his emotions will also change accordingly,” he explains. “But I often run into an obstacle: clients say that they understand everything with their minds they cannot feel “.
For example, even if the patient has learned to think more positively during therapy, he may still not feel joy as such. Dunn suspects that this is due to an insufficiently subtle sensation of his body. He gives another example: when you walk in the park, the body sends a variety of signals of satisfaction with what is happening. “But depressed clients seem to wander through the park without taking part in this sensory experience, and then come back and say that everything was dull and sad,” he says.
In the same vein, Daniela Ferman found that patients with severe depressive disorder (but without other complications such as anxiety) do not feel the rhythm of their heart, and the worse they feel the signals from their body, the less often they report any positive experiences in life.
And if you remember Dunn’s experiment with a deck of cards and the like, you will notice that low sensitivity to what is happening in the body is also associated with indecision – and this is what many patients with depression suffer from.
Ferman, however, emphasizes that depression comes in many forms, and the subtlety of one’s body sensation can only affect a few of them.
It is not yet possible to establish exactly why some people feel their body better than others, but Dunn believes that this ability can be strengthened by exercise. He is going to use for this purpose already developed methods of developing psychological awareness, when clients are taught to concentrate on their own feelings. According to him, the main difficulty is to learn to recognize feelings, even unpleasant ones, and at the same time not to react to them in the heat of the moment.Then you will learn to use your body as a kind of “emotional barometer” that lets you know what mood you are in and helps you make decisions.
Another group of scientists has developed a simple computer game in which you have to press a key every four heartbeats. If you are mistaken, the red light flashes – in theory, such feedback should help to better feel the body.
So what are we waiting for? After all, a person can lead a rich, emotionally rich life, tune in to the wave of sensual pleasures offered to us by the surrounding world, and make better decisions.
All you have to do is follow your heart.
Falling in love: when the mind is out of tune with the heart | Relationships, Self-development
Both the passion of the heart and the wisdom of the mind are great gifts. But what if emotionality conflicts with logic?
This can be especially painful in romantic relationships. Here are examples:
- Your partner really turns you on, but you are not sure if he is right for you in the long run.
- You like the correspondence with your partner, but you do not feel in love.
- Heart feeling unclear or absent.
- You fall in love, but then you feel a lot of red flags.
Conflicts between heart and mind can be downright paralyzing. If you wait too long, you might miss the opportunity. If you are in too much of a hurry, you may miss something important.
The heart can push you to take risky actions.Development is impossible without risk. The heart, if you trust it, can open the way to a beautiful passion that logic would never predict. However, sometimes, when the heart desires something very badly, denial and impulsiveness silence sanity. The heart can be not only idealistic, but also naive, neglecting rational thinking.
The mind can anticipate consequences that the heart does not notice or considers unimportant.
Logical thinking and analysis can tell you the presence of unreasonable risks, protect you from potential harm.However, sometimes the mind can act as a constant critic, sowing self-doubt and cynicism. And then adventures that could be so beautiful become impossible! Often our thinking can be too pedantic or rigid, as a result we miss something important.
If you are frozen in indecision, think about what you tend to trust more: feelings or thoughts. In this moment of confusion, it may be a good idea to turn to your less familiar “inner ally”.
For example, if you usually prefer logic, try to tune in to your feelings. Remember that feelings are not facts. They don’t have to be very intelligent. Feelings are information that comes from some less straightforward aspect of your personality.
Emotional intelligence is just as important as mental intelligence. Try to just sit and note how you feel.
On the other hand, if you have good direct contact with your feelings, try to tune in to your thoughts.Observing thoughts can be very different from your usual sense-orientation. The mind is also needed for something. Follow your thoughts. In the meantime, let the feelings just pass you by.
It may be helpful to try to make sense of your story. Think of the times when your thoughts have taken you to the wrong place. Then think about the times when meditation gave you access to wisdom that changed the course of your life or protected you from possible harm.
Think of times when your heart has pointed you in the wrong direction.Then remember when it prompted you to go on a real adventure that will be remembered for a lifetime, when it was worth taking the risk and following your passion to become who you became.
When you are overtaken by a conflict between mind and heart, perhaps the solution lies not in choosing between one and the other, but in taking advantage of both in the best possible way.
Our mind generates from 12,000 to 70,000 thoughts a day – that’s about two billion thoughts in a lifetime.However, a significant number of thoughts are meaningless, inaccurate, or absurd. One study found that 95% of our thoughts are repetitive, 80% are negative, and 85% of what we worry about will never happen.
How, given this prevalence of automatic thinking, can we reach contact with our deepest wisdom? You can be aware of her as your adult self, as a point of view based on self-love, as the voice of your mind. Often, wisdom manifests itself as a voice of silence, a voice quieter than most routine thoughts.It is the voice of reflection, the voice of experience. It can be the internalized voice of a parent, sage, teacher, or role model.
Deep wisdom awaits you not in hysterics or intimidating warnings. It offers you a long-term perspective. Your wisdom sees the potential consequences of your actions and asks if this is really what you want. Remember this voice. Pay attention to how it sounds and how it feels to your body.
Listen to the deep voice of your heart for a few moments.Maybe you should literally put your hand on your heart. You will feel the presence that you call spirit, open heart, voice of love, or your soul. It goes deeper than any particular emotion.
Like a wise mind, a deep heart can be felt like a deep, slow-flowing river. This heart is guided by your true values. It knows how to distinguish right from wrong – not in a moralistic sense, but in the one that is true for you personally. The deep heart sometimes speaks in a whisper, and sometimes loudly and commandingly.
When you experience conflict between mind and heart, try to have the wisdom of your mind enter into dialogue with the depths of your heart.
You can do this through visualization, written or oral dialogue. You can even write with both hands, using your leading hand to record the voice of the mind and the other to record the words of the heart. Let it happen by itself. Don’t allow yourself to edit or rate.See what happens. Take your wise mind and your deep heart for a walk or run and just listen to them.
If you have made a list of all the pros and cons of the choices you face, review the list with your deepest feelings in tune. Then do the same, consulting with your mind. As you read, listen to the wise advice that comes from each of these voices.
What if the conflict between mind and heart is about romantic relationships? If you doubt that your partner is right for you for a long-term relationship, even though he really turns you on, ask yourself this question:
- How will I feel in a year if I stay with this person?
- Will I regret staying in this relationship, thereby postponing the search for someone with whom I can do better?
- Are my doubts based on experience, such as failures in a previous relationship?
“You need to trust yourself,” people advise.Some believe that we are talking about trusting their intuition, others – physical feelings, for others it is deep knowledge, often non-linear and illogical. We know something, but we do not know where, we cannot explain how we learned it. Sometimes trusting ourselves saves us and leads us through life. And sometimes, especially if we are in an anxious or depressed state, it can be difficult to distinguish between intuition and anxious or depressed mood.
If you are in a relationship with someone who has everything you wanted but does not feel romantically involved, ask yourself:
- Is it because I am trying to convince myself of the need for this relationship because I am afraid of loneliness, afraid that I will not find anyone, or am afraid to hurt my partner?
- Have I fallen victim to a sense of duty – you can’t force yourself to love?
- Am I being too critical – perhaps for fear of being left alone with the unresolved pain of a previous loss?
- Can I imagine a real person who will be good enough for me right now?
Love is a great gift.If she is absent, it may be time to leave this relationship. Or give yourself some more time, wait until you decide on deep devotion. If you dream of someone inaccessible or of someone who has an ambivalent attitude towards you, ask yourself why you need it.
Are you afraid of being alone? Do you see this person as the solution to all your problems? Nobody, except yourself, will make you feel whole. Dreams can be wonderful, but the world is full of good people who are available to you.You deserve to have someone around who wants you as much as you want him.
Maybe an indifferent partner is just afraid? And does he need time to work through any problems before he or she is capable of loyalty to you? If this is the case, you can try to stay in the relationship and see what happens next. Or you can walk away by inviting the other person to meet again when / if he or she is ready. In any case, you will no longer feel like a victim.
If you find disturbing aspects of your partner’s personality, such as addiction, a tendency to lie, or dark episodes in the past, pay special attention to this. If you tend to fall into a relationship with such people, then now you need to have a really good reason to stay in such a relationship. Otherwise, the difficult story will repeat itself over and over again.
Evaluate how much your partner wants and is able to get help, to take responsibility for his past and his problems.Perhaps your partner is truly a diamond in need of a cut. However, you need to keep your eyes open. What do you want right now? What will be the long-term consequences? Maturity means finding a balance between one and the other.
In matters of love, neither a cold heart nor a sober mind can lead to a fulfilling relationship. Perhaps the best approach is to be practical about the need to be kind-hearted.
Author: Dan Neuhart, Ph.D.
Translated by Kiril Melamud
Helpful? Share your article on Vkontakte or Facebook in 1 click!
90,000 Sense and Sensibility: Turn on the Head or Live with the Heart?
Let’s talk about emotions. About feelings . About how to live in general – relying on reason or on feelings? What’s the best? How is it “more correct”?
Our senses and reason are not always in harmony.Let’s say you came from a date. You liked the young man very much. The next day, in the morning you are waiting for his call (or at least an SMS – it doesn’t matter). And he doesn’t call. And your heart is beating, beating: call him yourself, call him. And mind – don’t you dare! girls don’t call first! Who is here to listen – heart or head?
Or take, for example, a wife who is enraged that her husband does not consistently close the tube of paste (throws socks, is late, splashes the bathroom floor, does not keep promises, substitute his own).And her irritation flares up in response to another tube, sock, etc. She starts yelling at her husband. Where does so much emotion come from? And what is her irritation about?
Let’s figure it out.
Very often we hear: live with your heart! Living with your heart means living with emotions and feelings. Emotions and feelings are different things, did you know? Emotions are short-lived, simple and unambiguously colored. Basic emotions are joy, sadness, anger, disgust, contempt, fear, shame, surprise, interest, grief, guilt.
Feelings are longer, persistent and complex emotional states. But the most important thing is that feelings are inherently very contradictory and dual . Well, for example, love . She brings happiness. And she also brings suffering. Or envy : it can devour a person from the inside, or it can activate and motivate him to act.
From this we can conclude that it is difficult to live with feelings. Since feelings are contradictory and ambiguous, it is not easy, relying on them, to act consistently and not be tormented by doubts.And have you noticed that people whose lives are governed by emotions are very impulsive (that is, they act in obedience to the first inner impulse)? And this impulsiveness consistently leads to a heap of broken firewood.
But this does not mean at all that feelings and emotions should not be trusted. Necessary!
Emotions never lie!
First of all, emotions serve as a signal to us about satisfaction of our needs . Well, for example: you have set yourself some goal (say, to move out to a new apartment from your parents, because with your parents you and your husband are not life, you constantly quarrel because of them).They saved up, saved up money, looked for options. We moved. The goal has been achieved. What emotions have arisen? If you feel joy, satisfaction, calmness, then the goal was right. This is what you were aiming for. And if there is no joy? If you have fought before, so are you. The need for an even relationship with her husband is not satisfied. This means that it was not the parents that were involved, and not the apartment. And now we must think, by what other means this need can be satisfied .
Those who are skeptical about life with the heart suggest “turning on the head”, i.e.e. to live by reason. However, “reasonable behavior” does not guarantee success at all and does not exclude mistakes. Because a pure mind, without the promptings of the heart, is unable to recognize and satisfy our desires, is unable to correctly understand others and is still unable to do many things. A “correct” life, where everything is logical, thought out and balanced, will never make us completely happy.
The truth, as always, is somewhere in the middle : for harmonious functioning, a person needs a harmonious union of emotions and reason.You just need to understand the nature of both, and not forget why we need them.
The main function of emotions is to give us subtle information about our state and the state of another person. Any emotion is a signal that something is wrong (or vice versa “so”). Here you are sitting at a party. Everyone around is having fun, and everything seems to be fine. And you are somehow not very good. Everyone asks: what’s wrong with you? And you yourself don’t know. And here, at this important stage, when you feel some kind of internal discomfort, and should turn on the head : in order to understand what is wrong . It is impossible to feel what is wrong. This can only be understood by going through many options.
Emotions are more than eloquent. Let’s return to the example with the wife, who is enraged that the husband does not consistently close the tube of paste (throws socks, is late, splashes the bathroom floor, does not keep promises, etc.). Her irritation – what is it about? About unmet need for contact . In other words, she lacks his warmth , inclusiveness , maybe even respect and acceptance .And this inclusiveness, this respect is sought in a completely inadequate way, because emotions have accumulated – for a whole atomic explosion.
There is another interesting point in this example: there is no purpose as such in this behavior of the wife. She simply does not realize her need for warm emotional contact and does not seek to realize it in any way. Pokes like a blind kitten. He didn’t close the tube, and she yells at him. And she screams, in fact, from powerlessness to understand what is wrong with her, what does she need to be happy with him? I often ask my clients: why are you yelling at your husbands? what are you trying to achieve? They cannot find the answer to this question, except how difficult it is, perhaps, to close the paste? And what will this closed tube give? Happiness in your personal life? Will this make contact with your husband warmer? Nothing of the kind.There is no purpose, so the behavior is aimless, and therefore useless.
Which way out? Do not accumulate emotions in yourself, but track each of them . Everyone! Feel – tracked – reacted in a socially acceptable way. Those. saw another unclosed tube (sock, wet floor, unfulfilled promise) and went to another room. Then we talked about our feelings, thought about what, what unfulfilled need they were talking about … Usually it is very difficult for us to figure out what we really want and what we are dissatisfied with.And here psychologists come to the rescue :).
If the function of emotions is to suggest what is wrong (or vice versa “so”), then is the function of the head – to make a decision . It is very important that the senses remain only an instrument, and the last word still remains with the mind.
If your mind fails, you can listen to your heart. It will undoubtedly tell you the right decision, unless its wise whisper is drowned in screams of emotion.
If the heart and the head are in clear conflict, then …
Let’s return to our very first case – to call a young man you like or not?
Here you sit in front of the phone and suffer.You listen to a pounding heart (call! Call!) What does the desire to call tell you? – That the young man liked him. Highly. You feel great sympathy for him, maybe even love.
And at this wonderful moment, as we have already said, the brain should, ideally, turn on. And ask you a question: what, in fact, stops you from ringing? Indeed, in fact, if sympathy was mutual , you would know and feel . Then the question, to call – not to call, would not be worth it at all.You would live with your heart. And since a conflict and doubt arose, it means that one of your senses tells you that your sympathy is greater than his Or else there is no sympathy on his part at all. And if there is no sympathy, you will hardly be able to achieve his location. That is, the time spent on it will be empty, the relationship you dream about will not work out for you.
What conclusion? Mentally, you realize that you don’t need to call. But consciousness does not understand the whole chain that we have just traced here.Therefore, only a vague trace remains in him (consciousness), such a quiet inner voice that whispers: do not call .
And then only you can decide what to do next. Listen to the heart that drives you into the trap of a dead-end relationship. Or listen to your head and let your heart suffer a little. This is useful. It tempers. This teaches you to understand people.